Monday, May 30, 2011


This week has been great! Those three baptisms/confirmations this week were such a wonderful experience to have.  I´m excited to see the future for these three children - Bruno, Nayellen and Emily -  because I know how much having the gospel in their lives will help them.  The children here are so receptive to the gospel - it really is amazing.  We went out with one of the members (who was only 12, I might add) and we ran into her friend, Talita.  She is the perfect investigator.  Perfect.  We gave her the first lesson, gave her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon, and when we came back two days later, she had read the whole thing and she had questions because she didn't understand a few of the verses.  In case you didn't know, having investigators with questions is AMAZING, because it means that they really want to understand what we are teaching.  We taught her another time, and she had more question again, and she invited her cousin to join the lesson and they were both in church this past Sunday, which is SO exciting.  One of the most difficult things, I think in any mission, is helping people understand the importance of coming to church.  I think we had... almost 10 people that we invited and were pretty sure were going to come, but only Talita and Scarlette showed up.  It is a little disappointing, but having people there - and having the confirmations as well - made up for it.

We also met so many new people this week, and there are a few I have really good feelings about.  One is the father of a teenager that we already taught the first lesson to and we came by to see how she was and she wasn't there, but her dad was, so we talked to him for a minute, invited him to hear the lessons, and he accepted.  We planned to come the next day or so, but something came up and we weren't able to.  But we came by a few days later and he and his wife listened to to first lesson. I think he was excited about it - I know he was happy for us, as missionaries, he kept saying something about how great it was that we were sharing the gospel - but its still a little difficult for me to understand.  I understand the basic idea of what people are saying, but not many specifics.  But the Spirit during the lesson - and while he was talking - was so strong... it makes me really want to figure out how to present the next lesson so that hes just as excited.

Sister Freitas and I have set some more goals so that we can use our time a bit better and be more effective as missionaries - such as planning to visit people who live close to each other right after the other and not constantly having to walk across the city for each appointment.  Personally, I´m trying to work on saying things I feel like I need to say.  That has always been something that has been a little bit difficult for me, but I know I have been called by the Lord, He has a work for me to do and I need to be doing it, and one way to fulfill that purpose is to follow the inspiration I receive.  I guess that is part of faith.
Also, I have been trying to incorporate our goals into our planning.  I think too often we make goals, flip the page over and fill out our plan for the day, which completely defeats the purpose of setting goals.

I'm also excited because we set a Zone goal that each companionship in the Zone will baptize a man this month.  This is something I have also tried to focus on - talking to men.  Its a little harder than talking to children or women, but I know the Lord has men prepared in this area for us to teach. 
I am so happy to be here in Itabuna - it truly is a city of promise, and I feel privilege to be a part of bringing that promise to pass.

I'll have to send you a picture of the apartment.  So much is white!  Its mostly normal.  The water for the shower is heated by electricity, so Ive had a few cold showers when the power wasnt working right, but its a good way to wake up in the morning!

People love seeing pictures of you all.  6 kids is kind of a lot, so I love seeing the look on peoples faces when I say I have 5 irmãos =]

Love you much!!

Áte mais -

Sister Petersen

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Am in Another World

Ok, I dont have a ton of time, and this keyboard is weird.  BUT! I am here.

Ok! Wow.  So much...

First off, my companion is Sister Freitas - shes from Natal, Brazil and speaks no english.  Neither does anyone else here in Itabuna.  And - it gets better - I lost my dictionary on the way over here =]  Its been an interesting couple of days, thats for sure!  The first day when I arrived our plane was delayed for 2 hours, so we had dinner with President Vecchi - whom I really like - and then Sister Freitas and I had a 7 hour bus trip here.  We got here around 6am.  It was a long day of traveling.  Thankfully we were able to sleep for a few hours after we got here, because I really needed it.  I'm really trying to understand the people, but I only get maybe 1/10 of everything they say.  But everyone sounds impressed when they hear Ive only been here for 4 days.  I hope they're still impressed after Ive been here for a month or so.  The people here are so nice and very helpful all the time.  We've taught a lot of kids, and all of them love to talk to me and ask me to speak in english, and I dont remember the word in portugues, but a rough translation of what some of them call me is doll, I do believe.  Again, its a little difficult to understand and make sure that I'm understanding correctly.  But Mom, you'll be happy to know I already have a step-in mom while im here.  Her name is Cleonice and she is a recent convert, maybe of a couple months or so and she is so great.  Her grandaughter lives with her, Andrea, and shes 8 and so much fun.

We also have 3 baptisms lined up for this week - Nayellen, Bruno and Emily, 10, 11, and 8 respectively.  Sorry, my mind is still a jumble from the last few days.  I think I haven't quite processed some things that have happened and now writing about it... this world is so big, and there are so many people in it that live in circumstances that I knew existed, but it wasn't really real until I came here.  I realize more and more each day how much everyone needs the gospel, how much it can help everyone, and I want to share it.  I'm not really scared of contacting, but I don't like not being able to convey what I want to say, and so I'm probably a little more timid than I should be.  But Sister Freitas is wonderful at reminding me that I need to be more active in doing this work, and its true.

Megan would love it here; there are cats EVERYWHERE.  Dogs too, but many more cats.  Its kinda crazy.  Its also rained every day since I've arrived and everyone here is freezing, which I guess I can understand considering that I wore my sweatshirt to bed last night because I was cold.  I'm really considering it a blessing that I came here in the winter, though, because it is still pretty warm, and oh so humid.
I've already taught about 20 lessons, but I can't think of anything specific right now to tell you more about - sorry.

I will write a better letter next week, I promise.

I love you all!

Sister Petersen

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Her Way!

As I type this Erin's plane is over the Carribean, at least that is according to the Delta airlines flight tracker.  I hope she is sleeping, she sounded rather tired when we spoke with her this evening.  She wasn't able to sleep last night due to excitement and nerves.  Our visit didn't go quite as planned, I do not know how it is even legal for payphones to use up minutes on calling cards faster than a  minute.  She ended up having to call us collect because she talked to her brother first since her Dad wasn't home when she first called.  Oh well, at least we got to hear her voice and listen to her speak some portuguese.

We are so proud of her and excited for the next part of her mission.  Here is a picture from the Salt Lake Airport.  One of the elders leaving with Erin's group has a family friend that works at the airport.  He took pictures of their group and then emailed them on to all of the families.  What an amazing world we live in!  I am so grateful for the many blessings of the Lord.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Last Week!

This week has felt like it was a month long!  Yet there was so much that happened that I'm not sure if I could remember everything! 

Tuesday, we once again had the opportunity to hear from an apostle of the Lord. Elder Andersen came and spoke to us, and unfortunately I can't remember much (if anything) about what he said at the moment, but I took notes!  And that's the reason for taking notes.  He talked about the Merits, Mercy and Grace of Christ, and how we need to be applying them in our lives if we plan on teaching about them to others (this is in 2 Nephi 2:6-8).

We also got our reassignments this week, as you know, and I was reassigned to Louisville Kentucky!  I wasn't completely excited about it, but the next morning was the last time we were going to be taught by one of our teachers, and Irmao Johansen always has a wonderful way of giving us a ton of energy and excitement, so by the end of class I was completely ready to go out and get things done, no matter where it was!  And then we went to the travel office to get our flight plans and we were told that our Visas came through!  The Lord really does have perfect timing!  We're leaving with 26 other missionaries from the MTC - it appears that a lot of them came through at the same time, which is great.

I don't know if I've told you about some of the resources we use here at the MTC to help us teach and learn about people.  One thing we use a lot is   If you haven't been on there, do it.  That site it so amazing, and to watch the videos of other members is really inspiring to me.  Also, we use this site called 6 billion others (you should google it).  It was complied by a man who went around the world and asked the same 40 questions to a lot of different people, and the site is a compilation of all the interviews he did.  It's amazing to me how much truth people have, and our goal as missionaries is to build off of the truth that people already have.  Once again, I find this so inspiring.

This past Friday was completely full of workshops, and it was called our "Infield Orientation Day". What it made me realize is that I have been blessed with amazing teachers.  Most of the things they talked about (finding people, making goals, working with members, etc) were things that I already know about, and so this was helpful to continue to built upon what I knew.  But there were some missionaries there that it was their first time being introduced to these topics, and it was a little amazing to me that they didn't already know at least about the concept.

Other than that, life has been completely normal.  I haven't even started packing yet.  I'll probably do that once I finish here since I just finished my laundry (last time to use a dryer for 16 months - Hooray!!).   I'm sorry this is short and doesn't have many details, but I'm feeling a little antsy at the moment.  I've actually been feeling that way for the last couple of days.  I've learn a lot from my time here, but I feel like it's time to go.  I'll be sitting in class or somewhere else or we'll be walking somewhere and nothing can move fast enough for me.  It doesn't help that the Elders that we spent most of our time with left this morning for Mozambique and the other one will leave for Portugal tomorrow morning.

I'm so excited to go!

Love you all!
 Sister Petersen

Monday, May 9, 2011

Teaching is What it is All About

I just told someone in the laundry room that this was my 8th week here and that I would be leaving in a week or so, and that was so weird to realize!  Goodness, it's so crazy.  We'll get our reassignments on Wednesday I think, and I'm so excited for that!  This past week has been amazing - I don't remember a lot of details, I just know that we taught a lot and that many things have finally worked together and are making more sense to me.  I've always known why I was on a mission, but I've become more and more excited about getting out and sharing the gospel, especially this week.  Teaching people is what this life is all about - it's nice to know that now since I'm reatively young and still have a lot of time to perfect this teaching ability =]

So, we have been teaching a lot this week!  Since there are three of us, we've become investagators for each other.  One of us will be an investagator and the other two will be the missionaries teaching, and it really is such an interesting experience.  I love being an investagator, because I am still learning about this gospel, and I get to look at these concepts and principles from the eyes of someone else who doesn't know them, and I get to see how other missionaries answer questions that I have and I learn so much.

Another experience I had was teaching my companion as herself.  She's been struggling with being overwhelmed a little bit, so after she had an interview with our teacher, they came back into the room, Irma Holtzclaw stopped what we were doing and she said that Sister Cornwall and I were going to teach Sister Ogletree.  So we talked to her a little bit, asked her how things were going, what she was struggling with, what she was looking forward to, and then we went out and we had 5 minutes to prepare.  That lesson has been one of the most important ones I have taught since I've been here, because it's neat to teach 'investigators', but this time we were teaching someone real, some one who we knew and loved.  We prayed, and when we went back into the classroom to teach her we had a plan, but I was completely calm about everything that we taught, because I knew how much I loved the person in front of me, I knew how wonderful she was, and I knew how much God loved her, too.  I also knew that I had a sincere desire to help her, and that God would help me to know what to say because we all has the same goal in mind.  It's beautful, to have your wil aligned to that of God's, because He is able to help you so much more and there is absolutely no reason to doubt or not be confident in what you're saying.

Everything else has followed that lesson this week.  I've always know that love is such a central part of the gospel, but I've seen it in action more this week - when I have it and when I don't and the difference that it makes.  I've seen it as I've talked with the Sisters in our Brach and counciled with them about things they're struggling with, I've felt it as I've prayed for people I know and those I don't as well, and I've felt the love of the Lord for me, as an individual.  How much he wants me to learn and grow and how much He knows about who I am and what I'm capable of - I want everyone to have that feeling.

Last night was also amazing.  We had a speaker come - Bro. Heaton - and he talked about something that our companionship has been struggling with a little bit.  We were pretty sure we'd figured it out, but as he talked and told us the exact conclusion we had come to as well, it was a complete confirmation of the inspiration we had received about how we were supposed to go about teaching the lessons.  We were so excited as he talked about it and we made comments and were able to build off of what he was saying and to tie it back to concepts that we hadn't thought of before.  Afterwards we were so excited and we went up to thank him and to tell him that it was exactly what we needed, and then we couldn't quit talking about it.  Sunday nights we have the chance to watch church films, but we had no desire to do that.  We went back up to the classroom and talked more about what he'd said and built off of it for at least 90 mins.  We had to go back to our residence hall after that, but we kept talking about everything that we learned and more ideas kept coming to us.  And then this morning we were able to go to the temple.  I always like going to the temple, but this time... it was amazing.  I had all these ideas in my head from the night before, things we'd been able to talk about, and as I sat through a session I was able to make so many more conections about our purpose here and the amazing ability we have been given in this life simply to live - and Sister Cornwally and I talked for almost an hour afterwards about everything we'd been thinking and feeling....

This gospel is true.  I've always known that, but I feel that as I learn more, I realize how much more there is in store for me, how much worth I have in the eyes of God, and perfect beings are never wrong =]
I love you all, and I hope your week has been great

Sister Petersen

Monday, May 2, 2011

MTC Acronyms

I asked Erin to explain the acronyms she keeps using in her emails.  Here is her response:

Ok, acronyms: the TE is the Teacher Evaluation, where you teach a teacher and they'll stop the lesson and give you feeback and let you pick back up again.  This does not exist anymore because of the new program.  The TRC is the Teaching Resource Center.  We go once a week and have a planned lesson that we teach to people who volunteer and lately they've been all in portugues, which is pretty neat. (I had to find out what the acronyms meant so I could tell you, just sos you know)

Hope that helps.  I know it helped me.  :)

New Schedule and Missionaries

This new schedule has kinda thrown us for a loop a couple of times and has really make me realize how important communication is when you're doing things that other people depend on.  But I think we finally have everything figured out. I hope.  We almost couldn't email again today. But here I am!

This week... I have a horrible memory, so I'll apologize for that.  Elder Oaks came this past week!  He gave us a lot of advice about our missions, but alot of it was lists of things, and I don't remember them right now.  But his wife also spoke to us, and she said "Negitive thought are never from the Lord."  That has kind of been my focus for the rest of the week.  Not that I have negative thoughts a lot, I know it's just something I can work on and it will help me to improve.

Lets see.... Oh! You asked if I ever do anything fun, and the answer is of course!  Just one quick example, one night after we got back to our residence, we decided that we were going to have a talent show for each other in the companionship.  So as we were getting ready in the bathroom, Sister Ogletree showed us a clogging routine she remembered, Sister Cornwall sang (beacuse we found out she played Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and (this might take a little explainating later) I showed off my ability to immitate an Australian accent - a talent I didn't know I had until last week.  I'm pretty good =]

We also got a new Distict in this week, so our branch doubled in size!  10 missionaries, 4 of them are Sisters, so I've finally had to do something more as a Coordinating Sister!  It's been fun getting to know them, and two of them are going to the same mission as me, so that's always nice.  It's also means I've gotten to work with the Zone Leaders more to help set up trainings and such and I love those Elders.  Adamson, Largent Ruesch - I don't know if I've talked about them before, but they might be the best missionaries in the MTC.  No joke.  They are so much fun but they're also really good at getting things done, which is always good.

Oh, I should probably tell you about last night.  So we have Deviotionals on Sundays, too, and we were just sitting in our seats when a man comes over and says he needs one of us to help him.  Then he points at me and says "I need you."  I was a little confused, but I followed him up to the front of room and sat where he told me to (in the front row) and said he needed me to help him read somthing in a little bit.  It finally clicked in my head that he was the person who was speaking (I don't remember his name right now, sorry) and that meant that I was going to be standing up in front of the entire MTC and I would probably be on camera, too (they have the room set up kinda like the conference center with the screens on either side of the podium so that everyone can see the speaker).  So he calls a couple other missionaries up to help him read and he has them representing people, like Nephi and Isaiah, and I'm trying to figure out who he's going to have me represent, and then our "Nephi" starts reading about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and he calls me up.  So I think that's pretty neat that I was picked to represent her, and as I'm walking over to where he is he says "Now Mary was really young when the angel came to her, only about 14 or 15, we think.  So I found the youngest looking Sister missionary I could find to represent her."  And then everything made sense =]  But it was still a little neat to read her words and to stand and represent her.  All those years of playing her in our Nativity have payed off! =]

I love you all!  Keep doing good and remember who you are and what makes you happy

Sister Petersen
PS. Part of this new schedule is that Erin's Pday is now on Mondays.